Affiliate marketing is a form of web marketing that can allow a brand and a publisher to work together to boost their business together.
Whether you are an online merchant looking to win new customers or a blogger looking to monetize their content, affiliate marketing offers many opportunities to boost your income.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing today, for both advertisers and publishers on the web:
If you are a content publisher (blogs, media sites, etc.), affiliate marketing is a way to monetize your content by earning commissions on the sales of the advertisers whose products you promote.
If you are an advertiser (e-merchant, online service provider, etc.), it allows you to reach a qualified target by promoting your products on websites that have an affinity with your offer.
To find out how to get started and apply best practices, follow the guide!
Affiliate marketing: a definition
Affiliate marketing is a web-specific marketing technique that allows an advertiser to promote their products on another website (called an affiliate) in exchange for a commission paid for generating sales or leads.
There are many possible affiliate models, but the most common system works as follows:
- A brand A (for example an online travel agency) offers a link to its product on an affiliate B website (for example on a page listing “the 10 best online travel agencies”).
- Every time a visitor to website B clicks on a link to travel agency A and creates an account or makes a purchase, website B earns a commission (eg 15% of the sale).
Affiliate marketing has the advantage of being a business partnership that allows two brands to profit from each other’s business.
For the advertiser, this is a way to promote their product to new audiences and for the affiliate site, it is a way to make money by posting links.
This form of marketing is popular with bloggers who can promote different products in their articles. Just think of all the “comparison” articles you’ve seen on the internet: most of the time, these are affiliate marketing campaigns.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Now let’s take a closer look at how affiliate marketing works and what type of compensation to choose.
The 4 players in affiliate marketing
In general, an affiliate marketing campaign consists of four elements:
The Affiliate. This is a website that links to another brand’s site or product and earns a commission in return. A typical example would be a blogger specializing in a particular theme (eg beauty products). In addition to his own articles not having a direct commercial purpose, he will publish articles promoting a product (ex: a list of the best lipsticks 2020).
The announcer. This is the brand that seeks to promote its product or service. Staying on the same example, it would be a beauty product brand looking to sell its latest lipstick. In exchange for consumers who click on the link to their product, the brand offers a commission to its affiliates (here, the beauty blogger).
The consumer. The Internet user who visits the affiliate site (the beauty blog) and clicks on a link to the brand’s site to purchase a product (here lipstick) or create an account.
The affiliate platform. Affiliate networks are software solutions that allow you to manage an affiliate campaign: definition of the commission, analysis of the number of links clicked, height of sales, etc.
The first three players are essential, but whether or not to choose a platform will depend on your needs. Some companies develop their own affiliate platform or manage their affiliate campaigns “manually”.
The different forms of remuneration
There are many possible forms of compensation for an affiliate marketing campaign. In general, we will find one of the following three affiliation models:
- The PPS (or PPV in French). Pay per sale is a system in which the affiliate earns a commission as a percentage of the sale made. If a user clicks on the link to the brand that wants to promote their product but does not buy, the affiliate will not receive anything. Usually, a cookie is placed so that the affiliate earns a commission even if the consumer does not buy immediately (the cookie can, for example, identify all sales that took place within 30 days of a link clicked).
- The PPC. Pay per click allows the affiliate to earn a commission every time a link is clicked, even if no sale occurs. This is a relatively rare system because it is risky for the advertiser – who may find themselves paying without having made a sale.
- The PPL. Pay per lead is a little different in that it is not based on sales, but on lead generation. In this case, the affiliate will earn a commission each time a consumer who clicked becomes a lead. The definition of what constitutes a lead (or prospect) can vary widely depending on the advertiser’s objectives: subscribing to a newsletter, creating an account, etc.
The most common model is pay-per-sale, as it reduces the risk taken by advertisers – who only pay when they make money.
3 best practices for affiliate marketing
You get it, there are two positions you can have in an affiliate marketing system.
If you’re an advertiser and want to find sites to promote your products – besides opting for an affiliate platform – the easiest way is to do a Google search and see which sites have products similar to yours. Then contact them with your offer.
If you have a blog and want to make money promoting the products of other brands, there are a few best practices you should make sure you follow:
Specialize in a niche subject
Finding a subject in which to specialize should be your priority!
For someone new to affiliate marketing, there may be a temptation to post a lot of links to many brands to earn as many commissions as possible.
It would be a mistake!
To earn a commission, you need a consumer to come to your blog and be convinced by your expertise. He needs to trust you enough to click on the link and buy later.
So you have to become an expert in a particular field. Preferably a niche subject where the competition is not too great.
If you blog about “beauty products,” you will probably never get to the top of Google search results and no one will find your articles.
It is better to concentrate on a more specific subject (eg: “organic lipstick for men”) and specialize in this one!
Produce quality content regularly
Once your topic is found, you need to create a quality website/blog to prove your expertise!
To get consumers to visit your site, read your articles and click on the links that will lead them to purchase, you need to convince them with quality content.
So create a blog that you update regularly. Try to write articles that really bring added value to your visitors: guides, infographics, reviews, tests, etc.
Don’t try to put commercial links in every article. You genuinely want to deliver great content to your visitors and encourage them to buy after they’ve spent some time on your blog.
Write product reviews
Besides product testing, reviews are the best way to build commercial links into your articles.
We’ve said it before: there’s no point in posting affiliate links in every article you write. Just insert them in specific articles such as tests or reviews.
Reviews are a great way to insert links to several brands (eg “the 10 best organic lipsticks for men”).
They also have the advantage of being relatively low in the sales funnel: that is, consumers who read product reviews show an intention to buy.
So you have a better chance of earning a commission with this type of article!